The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira by César Aira

Things. Tangible things that could be held in a hand, placed in a drawer. The world was always praising "young people who make things," and for good reason. Because ninety-nine percent of the value of things, of their intrinsic beauty, is derived from time. A comb is useful only for combing your hair (and not even this if you're bald), but a two-hundred-year-old comb is sold as a precious object in an antique store, and a two-thousand-year-old comb is exhibited in a museum and is priceless. That's why it's worthwhile to make things in one's youth, because these are the only things we have the possibility of seeing made more beautiful by the patina of time, if we live to an old age. Those we make later remain for future generations, and we miss out on them. Dr. Aira had missed the chance, and he bitterly lamented this fact. But to make things now, at fifty, might bring some inkling of youth; perhaps it would place time on his side.